Saturday, 04 July 2020 18:50

Weather Systems

Written by  Priscilla K. Garatti
Weather Systems Photo by tpmatt from FreeImages

There's another related concept that I share: impermanence. Sometimes in their pain, people believe that the agony will last forever. But feelings are actually more like weather systems--they blow in and they blow out. Just because you feel sad this minute or this hour or this day doesn't mean you'll feel that way in ten minutes or this afternoon or next week. Everything you feel--anxiety, elation, anguish--blows in and out again.~Lori Gottlieb (From Maybe You Should Talk To Somebody)

I walk into the kitchen, rubbing my eyes, my hair sticking out in unattractive angles after a fitful night's sleep.

"How are you doing? asks my husband, Giovanni.

"Oh, I'm really sick of all the misery in the world. I'm so done," I say.

"Well," he says, "We're having burgers on the grill today." He smiles.

I smile back. "You're right. It's good to think about now, about today."

"Want to go for a walk?" Giovanni asks. "We could get out before it's too hot, then come home and shower and hunker down in the air conditioning." He smiles again.

I waver. Do I really want to coat myself with insect repellent? I'll be sweating like a maniac before we get home, even though it's not yet eight in the morning. My ambivalence hangs in the air, but before I can change my mind, I say, "Yes. Let's do it."

I'm not sure how we missed going down "Up On The Hill Road" over the years we've lived in our neighborhood. Today is our first trek on the unpaved street that lies between two luxury apartment complexes. We notice multiple structures on either side of us, clusters of tiny residential squares with screened in porches. Then suddenly, there are no more buidlings and for about a half mile we see only land covered with snarly vines and weeds blooming purple and white. Then to our left, we are struck with such an unexpected view, that we both stop in amazement. It's as if we walked through a secret doorway and found treasure. There in a sun-dappled field stands an oak tree, ivy creeping up its trunk and Spanish moss draped over its branches. The tree is massive. If it could speak, I'd imagine the ancient oak might say, "Welcome. I've been waiting for you. Tell me how you've been."

"Giovanni," I exclaim. "I never knew what was down this road. What a gorgeous oak." 

"It is," he says.

We move on down to the end of "Up On The Hill Road." We find a private community dotted with houses. We can't tresspass, but marvel at the peaceful neighborhood. "I never knew this was here either," I say. It seems what lies behind the hidden door keeps delivering surprises.

One more time we walk past the old oak, staring at its beauty, absorbing the tranquility it exudes. 

I hesitate, but blurt out to Giovanni as we head back, "I had really bad dreams last night. In one, I was about to be attacked by an evil guy in the parkng garage at work; in another you had gone away, and I didn't know why. When I woke up, I didn't know if you were gone or not. And when I realized it was a dream, relief washed over me." Why was I telling him something so dark when we'd just observed the beautiful tree? 

Before I can sink into regret for what I've disclosed, Giovanni says, "Priscilla, it was a dream. Only a dream. And as you can see I am here."

We are home. I shower and remember with some delight that today we will feast on burgers. 

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What Readers Are Saying

In Missing God Priscilla takes a brave and unflinching look at grief and the myriad ways in which it isolates one person from another. The characters are full-bodied and the writing is mesmerizing. Best of all, there is ample room for hope to break through. This is a must read.

Beth Webb-Hart (author of Grace At Lowtide)

winner"On A Clear Blue Day" won an "Enduring Light" Bronze medal in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.

winnerAn excerpt from Missing God won as an Honorable Mention Finalist in Glimmertrain’s short story “Family Matters” contest in April 2010.